Construction employment was mixed during July, as many states posted gains over year-ago figures but saw drops from June employment levels, the Associated General Contractors of America said.
The U.S. Labor Department said construction employment grew 3 percent between July 2012 and July 2013, but it slipped 0.1 percent when seasonally adjusted for the month.
“Today’s report shows the fragile and fragmentary nature of the industry’s recovery,” said AGC chief economist Ken Simonson. “Construction employment increased in 37 states during the past 12 months — the largest number with gains since early last year — but only two states have surpassed their pre-recession peaks, and barely a third of states added construction jobs between June and July.”
The largest percentages of new jobs in the past year were created in Wyoming, Mississippi and Hawaii. In sheer numbers, Texas, California and Florida saw the most new construction positions created.
Thirteen states and Washington, D.C., saw job declines during the past year, with the steepest declines on a percentage basis in Indiana and South Dakota.
If the economy continues to grow, one of the biggest problems for many construction companies may be finding enough qualified workers, said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.
“While the industry’s recovery has been tentative and remains very fragile, any jump in demand would be as challenging for firms as it would be welcome,” Sandherr said. “The biggest question for many firms is whether there will be enough skilled workers available if things heat up.”